He definitely seems to have a fascination with the drums.
April 3, 2014 2:07 AM   Subscribe

Dan Ozzi talks to Sheryl Zelikson, Late Show music producer, about how she selects guests, what goes into booking the musical segment, and how to get your band on the show. Tonight's Musical Guest: How Late Show with David Letterman Books Its Acts.
posted by paleyellowwithorange (16 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Music has no age. Letterman likes a good band and a great performance no matter the style or the target audience. That's part of why I still love Letterman. Good for him to trust his crew to find strong acts.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:51 AM on April 3, 2014

That Le1f performance really was a thing of beauty. I am not a fan of hip-hop generally, but that clip is stunning.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 3:28 AM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

I read the interview and really enjoyed it, then watched the Against Me! track and was as disappointed as ever - I guess it's just really not my sort of thing, even if it is usually talked of it terms of things that I like. Thanks to Ursula Hitler's comment, I went back and watched the other embedded videos, and while they are not my sort of thing, they were fucking excellent, all. Really recommend taking the time to watch some awesome music even if you're sceptical.
posted by Dysk at 5:31 AM on April 3, 2014

I quit really watching Letterman a while ago but I DVR Craig Ferguson and set it to start 10 minutes early so I can catch the musical performance at the end of Letterman's show. Even when it's not my cup of tea the performances tend to be interesting.
posted by lordrunningclam at 6:01 AM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

Letterman has phoned his show in for at least a decade now but the musical guests are still excellent and strangely cutting edge for a mainstream tv show. I'm glad things like youtube exist because I couldn't stomach the just barely better than leno product for the sake of the music.
posted by srboisvert at 6:13 AM on April 3, 2014

Cute reaction by Dave to the Future Islands performance.
posted by beau jackson at 6:47 AM on April 3, 2014 [2 favorites]

What a tremendously fun job, like working at a car dealership and deciding who gets a free car that day.

I've always wondered if Paul Shaffer rehearses with the bands, or if the sound guys just give him a bit of keys in the monitors but mute him in the final mix. A big, decades long joke on Paul he is completely unaware of.

More technically, live sound during those shows is always kind of abysmal, I've been to a Saturday night live taping (Adele and Sarah Palin were the guests), a jimmy Fallon (roots) and Conan (Nancy Wilson). The studio sound was awful, but watching it back that night it was better, but not great. Bands are rather particular about their mixes, I wondered if they brought their own sound guys or used the in house ones.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 6:47 AM on April 3, 2014

beau jackson: "Cute reaction by Dave to the Future Islands performance"

I heard about the band on NPR's Morning Edition, and the Letterman performance, so I watched that a few days ago. Yes the song is fantastic, and his reaction was great, just genuinely enthusiastic, and I totally see why. I'm glad he gets into the music on his show.
posted by I am the Walrus at 7:12 AM on April 3, 2014

I've always wondered if Paul Shaffer rehearses with the bands

I'm pretty sure he does, if I remember a Keyboard magazine article from waaaaaaay back in the 80's correctly. Of course, the catch is that depending on how well the show rehearsal stays on schedule, "rehearsing with the band" often means "run through the tune twice, top to bottom, OK, that's it, next."

I wondered if they brought their own sound guys or used the in house ones.

I can't speak from personal experience, but what I've heard from other sound-persons is that it's mostly house techs with their hands on the gear, due to union rules. If you make nice with the house crew they'll often let you hang out in the the control room and supervise the on-air mix, and very occasionally, if everyone's totally chill, the band's tech will actually be allowed to operate the desk.

Although apparently a lot of acts prefer to have their techs supervising the in-studio gear, especially monitors, and trying to wring somewhat useable sound out of systems & environments that really aren't set up for live band reinforcement.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:34 AM on April 3, 2014 [3 favorites]

"Are those your drums?"
posted by sourwookie at 7:34 AM on April 3, 2014 [4 favorites]

I really want to know what is up with Dave and the drums. Is he actually interested in who owns vs rents their drums? Is it an inside joke or performance piece? Is it because what else do you say to a drummer?
posted by boubelium at 7:48 AM on April 3, 2014

Soundguy99, that's super informative, thanks.

I imagine that bigger bands who are a "get" for the show may be able to negotiate sound in their performance riders. Perhaps U2 can stipulate no green skittles in the green room, their tech runs the board and the Edge needs his own in ear monitor.

Which led me to now wonder if they rebroadcast the performance as captured or if the house editor/engineer adds compression and EQ in post.

I used to do some work for the Gibson artist lounge in NYC, if you are a musician appearing on letterman (or elsewhere) Gibson will lend you whatever instruments you wanted for the performance, just to get their family of products on TV (Gibson, epiphone, Baldwin e.g.). It's kind of a cool thing they do in LA as well, we don't care who you are, if you are going to be on tv you can play a $10,000 vintage acoustic.
posted by BlerpityBloop at 8:17 AM on April 3, 2014

I really want to know what is up with Dave and the drums.

I've always assumed it's one of his long-running standup comic bits - sort of like the "and if you've ever been polled, you know how painful that can be" one. Perhaps he started saying it ironically, to make fun of schlock comics, and now it's kind of become a habit. That's my guess, anyway.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:38 AM on April 3, 2014

what else do you say to a drummer?

I'd like a non-fat double latte, please.
posted by malocchio at 12:42 PM on April 3, 2014 [1 favorite]

SLNYT: David is retiring in 2015.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 2:09 PM on April 3, 2014

Damn. Guess I'll wait for the imminent FPP...
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 2:31 PM on April 3, 2014

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